David Braben has taken to Kickstarter to crowdfund Ellite: Dangerous, a brand-new entry in the Elite series.
Braben's Frontier Developments studio is asking for a not insignificant £1,250,000 to fund the game. At the time of writing the Kickstarter had reached £76,174.
The original Elite is one of the most successful games of the 80s, wowing gamers with its 3D visuals and open space to explore. In 1993 a follow-up to Elite arrived, with Frontier offering 100,000,000,000 star systems. Braben wants Elite: Dangerous to squeeze every drop out of modern computers, just like Elite and Frontier did in their day.
"Elite: Dangerous is the game I have wanted Frontier to make for a very long time," Braben states on the game's Kickstarter page.
"The next game in the Elite series - an amazing space epic with stunning visuals, incredible gameplay and breath-taking scope, but this time you can play with your friends too. I want a game that feels more like the original "Elite" to fly, and with more rapid travel (to allow for the multi-player nature of the game) – so you travel quickly using local 'hyperspace' travel rather than by fast-forwarding time – but with the rich galaxy of Frontier – and more, so much more."
A new Elite from Braben has been talked about for a long time, and he knows some people will be less than confident about the success of this Kickstarter project.
"I'll be frank - we have had a couple of false starts on this over the years, where progress wasn't as good as I wanted. Also, understandably, other projects have been prioritised – projects with announced dates or other commitments," stated Braben.
"Up to now "Elite" has been worked upon by a small team as a 'skunk-works' activity in the background as availability permits. Nevertheless, we have been preparing; laying the technology and design foundations for when the time is right. And that time is now."
The game, due for release on PC in March 2014, is set to offer much of what made the original titles so popular. According to the Kickstarter you "will be able to trade, pirate, bounty-hunt, explore, and salvage your way to wealth and fame".
Braben told the BBC that "publishers want to see the end result before they move forward and with a lot of games like this it's very important to balance the design of the game as you are going."
Using Kickstarter helps "Frontier to validate that there is a market for this type of game out there," Braben added. "We then have the confidence that we know who we are making the game for."
What are your thoughts on Elite: Dangerous? At £1.25m it's one of the more expensive projects on the crowdfunding service, but it's also a series with a strong history and many hardcore fans. Are you pledging? If you give £5,000 you get dinner with David Braben and the key team members in Cambridge, a central star system named after you, plus all other pledge rewards.